Interview 152 – John Young on Wikileaks and Whistleblowing

by | Apr 13, 2010 | Interviews | 14 comments

The founder of and veteran publisher of suppressed documents joins us to discuss what can be learned from the Wikileaks phenomenon, including the ways that information leaks can themselves be manipulated. We also discuss corporate complicity in government surveillance of the internet.

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4


  1. Hi James,

    Welcome back from holiday. I hope you had an excellent & relaxing time.

    This is a great flashback, and does a bit to address some of the questions that arose in comments recently following your QFC #044 regarding Assange.

    Not sure if you’re already planning it, but it sounds like a fresh interview with John Young might be in order. It was a much different world 9 years ago when you last discussed Wikileaks, whistleblowing, & internet security with him. Certainly the plethora of DIY exposure sites he envisioned is not a reality that has not come to pass, quite the opposite, really, what with all the de-platforming of the last year. The ‘business as usual’ discussion of corporate and state espionage seems not to hold water these days; a new threshold has been crossed.

    One query about Cryptome that I would request you convey to him relates to his ‘NYC Supertall most dangerous buildings series.’ I’m curious about its scope and intent. Surely, failures of bureaucratic oversight in the field of behemoth super wealthy developers is news worthy of compiling publicly, especially if buyers and homeowners are assuming insane and illegally manufactured risk. But is his series also related to 9/11 failures, somehow?

    I’ve always wondered how consumers of state religious dogma (concerning 9/11) can reconcile the incongruities between Building 7 falling by “office fires,” and their absolute silence on the need to update the building code to prevent such newly-discovered, ever-present risk. If the laws of material physics have indeed changed to accommodate the state narrative, so to must the code. Is his series a round-about way of addressing this cognitive dissonance?

    As John is a registered architect in NYC who also does this kind of media work, 9/11 seems like a ripe opportunity for discussion more generally. If he’d prefer not to discuss it, that’s an even more compelling subject, as it might illuminate how and why otherwise good public figures (Chomsky & Assange, for instance) who seem to discuss corruption truthfully and with great acumen, would be compelled to avoid the third rail of what I’m calling state religion. If John were to take a public position on 9/11, for instance, would that potentially damage his ability to interface with the DOB and so to execute his professional endeavors? Is he ever concerned that his clients would look at him funny and maybe reconsider their contract with him, if he were to speak openly about it?


    • Skip says:
      I’ve always wondered how consumers of state religious dogma (concerning 9/11) can reconcile the incongruities between Building 7 falling by “office fires,” and their absolute silence on the need to update the building code to prevent such newly-discovered, ever-present risk. If the laws of material physics have indeed changed to accommodate the state narrative, so to must the code. Is his series a round-about way of addressing this cognitive dissonance?

      Please stand by…
      Warning to Office Workers!!

      (3 minutes)

      • James Corbett produced the above video EMERGENCY WARNING FOR OFFICE WORKERS (NIST WTC7) shortly after the LIVE Press Briefing by NIST about the collapse of Building 7 (NIST Briefing – August 21, 2008).
        NIST had been stalling for years to release a report about the collapse of Building 7.

        I remember that the 9/11 Truth community was all abuzz about the coming live NIST Press Briefing on August 21, 2008.
        I watched it live. I was glued.

        Corbett’s video was a timely big hit in the 9/11 Truth community. Everyone was outraged about the NIST Press Conference.

        Be sure to watch this…
        NIST WTC 7 Report – Press Briefing 8/21/08 pt 1

        Watching all the parts are very revealing. NIST was put on the hot seat with some good questions. For example: Listen to an “InfoWar Reporter” ask a question in Part 6. (Back in the day, virtually anyone could be an InfoWar Reporter, so to speak…just ask the hard questions to authoritative sources.)

        If you download and archive material, I suggest that you grab all the parts. Originally NIST had the archived video, but took it down.

    “Interview 152 – John Young on Wikileaks and Whistleblowing” – YEAR 2010

    I enjoyed this FLASHBACK interview. Timely, especially with the current news about Assange.
    John Young made some impressive, profound statements which helped to broaden my perspectives.

  3. Leaked damaging or helpful facts, from those who want you to know what’s what. Well established methods by Private, Corporate and Governmental marketing models. Who is the definitive forensic determinant for the truth in today’s world? As he said its like a religion. So its a spiritual war on the truth. So material methods have run their race. Can we move the finish line out far enough to change the outcome of the race? Glamoriation of leakage, move it to the courts and extend the finish line beyond ability to maintain focus or to establish presidence in law?
    James you where on something here way ahead of the curve and like the tip of a Bull whip, cracks like thunder, when the handle catches up with the tip. Play it again until it soaks in. Optimistic or pessimistic uncontrolled populist spirit, or materia, our choice.

  4. Say it ain’t so Joe. You are Liberty waving the tricolour on the barricades. You are Truth. Don’t be afraid of Truth for it will set us free. Buck-Up finger lakes you got three backbones, you can handle it. Im telling you the Truth here. You are an inspiration. The dark forces of France fear the truth like Vampires fear the sunlight. People can handle the truth and will always prefer it to lies.

  5. Hello mbp, how’ve you been?

    I’m a little confused as to what Truth it is that you’re finding hard to handle? Is it John Young’s leaks of Wikileaks in 2007? I do thank you for turning us on to it; and here’s a small part of those leaks, a forward from Julian that I copied and pasted here:

    Fwd from Julian:

    > We should be consistent in our use and invention of language. A word or
    > a phrase extracts meaning from its resonance with other usages and our
    > experiences. For instance in the FAQ we sometimes use the phrase
    > “ethical leaking”. Should we always use this phrase? ‘leak’ by itself
    > carries a negative. ‘ethical’ a strong positive. ‘ethical leaking’ a
    > positive. But it does isolate ‘leaks’ as being non-ethical unless we
    > stick ‘ethical’ on them. Can we make a movement from this phrase and
    > others? ‘The ethical leaking movement’. Powerful. Can it survive the
    > heat of our vision?

    Ethical leaking has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The obvious attack on
    this is that WL cannot distinguish ethical from unethical leaking.

    However, emphasising that WL seeks to enable ethical leaking is a good
    idea, it seems to me.

    > We must find our own ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ s — blessings and
    > sanctifications that even our most diseased and demonic opponents will
    > find themselves chanting to each other in the night.
    > We need a phrases for ‘leak facilitator’, ‘mail drop volunteer’,
    > ‘ethical leaker’, ‘wl server operator’ etc, etc.

    Geez, mbp, what’s so awful about the above? I especially like how JA characterizes his opponents (i.e., corrupt governments) as “diseased and demonic”. Personally, assuming JA isn’t clairvoyant and wasn’t counting on John Young publishing this communication, I humbly say it stands as a sort of testament to his belief system.

    I, for one, am a fan of JA, and if we were to consider the Ecuadorian Embassy’s guest room as nothing other than a glorified prison cell, then it could be said the man has already spent 7 years of his life behind bars, and continues to this very day to stand, sit and pace behind those bars, only they’re real iron bars today. And let’s not even talk about Chelsea Manning, my god, she’s back behind bars, as more truly “diseased and demonic” individuals try to bend her arm to testify against JA, thereby bravely facing another 18 months in lock-up, being that it’s now reported that she’s declared she’ll never do so…that is, testify.

    But, perhaps you’d be so kind as to inform the poor girl that she’s frightfully wasting additional years of her life defending a phony, a fraud, a fake? Perhaps even a covert double agent?


    By the way, there’s absolutely nothing John Young said anywhere at anytime, either alluding to, or insinuating the latter. Nor did he respond whatsoever to the oblique steerage of the conversation towards actions by Assange somehow “raising suspicions” of one sort or another, unknown.

  6. Now that WL has had a decade to prove itself, I’d say it sure has delivered on “They promise all sorts of good things.” CIA’s digital dirty tricks tool-kit seems like a pretty good get. Exposure of the epidemic proportions of offshoring of wealth (Panama Papers) is no small potatoes. [Have you seen ‘The Spider’s Web,’ yet?] Exposure of the total fraud that is the DNC ain’t nothin’. And let’s be real: Trump is a symptom of Cambridge Analytica and Hillary’s Horror, not Seth Rich’s sacrifice or Julian’s entrapment. I’d say the proof is in the pudding: WL has won the decade, even if it did force the Empire’s hand to extreme crackdown – such things truly do make the system weaker and show its cracks.

    Whereas the entirety of John Young’s criticism (above) applies more accurately – now that time has born out some reality – to Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project than to WL. Or “BB’s PP,” as is appropriate. Talk about an attempt at controlled Op State Religion masquerading as the digital resistance! Assange may suffer from major egotism, but Barrett’s megalomania is gargantuan – he’s a gestating tyrant, a wannabe Ben Bradlee. And, yes, while a bitter good writer, he’s not the analyst, the philosopher, nor the diplomat that Julian is (merely by virtue of their published work.)

    Julian made the decision at some point to weaponize the ideas of Journalism, Public Relations, and Celebrity Activist in order to expose the crimes of the people who traffic in “journalism,” Public Relations and Celebrity Distraction. To attack him for his MO in this clear effort at satire & overturning the applecart is disingenuous. It seems now that his life hangs in the balance – and it would be a pretty insane suggestion that the risks he faces are not authentic – that the authenticity of his intent is not at least given the benefit of the doubt. He sure cuts a more believable profile than Reality Winner, Barrett Brown, Laura Poitras, or Jacob Applebaum.

    Yes the singular attention to a cult of personality, as Julian instrumentalized himself for the promotion of WL, may in the end prove personally disastrous for JA, but in terms of media success and entry into the ‘independent engineers of history club,’ he has achieved it. A child growing up now can decide to emulate Julian Assange as much as he can chose to emulate Michael Jordan or JayZ. That’s how the long game works. People mimic, consciousness is an infinite regression, and figures stand out before the ground.

    • As much as I love Corbett’s work, and I really find it beyond excellent, stratospheric, even, it will by design – like any truly great band (rare exceptions remitted) – never exceed sub-cult status on the margins of an age of media monopoly and idol-worship. (A toast to James’ health is in order. Keep up the fringe strategy man – as the ends and the means of anarchic self-determination must maintain their integrity.)

      Accepting for a second that Julian is fully authentic in his subversive philosophy and will, he has left an indelible and beneficent mark on the age. And that mark is one of revelation about the fraud that is our entire political reality. Beyond 9/11, we know now with first source evidence how the DNC really works on the inside. James’ and John’s work is equally apocalyptic and veil-lifting *potentially* but they remain specialist concerns for lifestyle demographics in terms of their audiences. John Young’s library will be an interesting resource to posterity if it survives, but it did not tap into the logos – the living language – as WL has. As a footnoting reporter and editorialist, I’d propose James’ has more in common with Julian’s model, and hence his impact can and will be greater than John’s. In the drive to emancipate every human mind, each of you does essential and important work.

      Julian may have decided long ago that he has to sit on his words concerning matters of 9/11, Franklin/Pizzagate, and anything else truly beyond the pale of consensus state doctrine and conventional politeness in order to maximize his impact. [To his credit – he did have the balls to discuss the CIA’s ‘evil dust,’ before being cut-off, and that’s no mean public disclosure of the surreality facing us.] But if that is the price he’s paid for exposure, one must observe and weigh the entirety of WL’s achievements to decide if it was worth it, let alone if you feel that WL has mysteriously and paradoxically gamed you by somehow helping the evil tyrants of the world…

      In any case, Julian’s case of being managed opposition is a much less clear-cut case than, say, Chomsky, who as a researcher at MIT has alway gotten his paycheck from the DOD. The other unfortunate reality of Chomsky’s analysis is that his philosophy is a pessimistic one: all these failures of our system are psychologically intractable, built-in, systemic, “inherent.” Julian’s philosophy, fwiw, is optimistic – he believes by virtue of his thought and action, that the light of day kills lies. In that way, Julian is closer to Woody Gutherie than Daniel Ellsberg. He’s certainly closer to James and John, than say, he is to Rupert Murdoch.

      Despite his apparent showboating, he’s on your team and he’s done great work. And not to put too fine a point on it: he’s currently enduring wrathful torture; so it might be humane to show some sympathy and have some regard for his achievements.

      • Note to ManBearPig – I pivoted there, somewhat unintentionally, from speaking in reply to you, MBP, toward a more plural, rhetorical audience, including James, John, and the general reader. I don’t mean it to sound as if I think you suffer from a smeared lens. I fully appreciate the reflective thoughts you’re offering here, and it seems plain to me that you have a sane and sympathetic view. Great supporting links you’ve provided. Thank you.

      • Skip Tomalou,

        Your two posts above articulate truly insightful viewpoints, flawlessly expressed in a style which is at once professional and concise. I applaud your acumen!

        If I’ve read you correctly, setting aside the erstwhile development of said “cult of personality” – a point you aptly raised and duly qualified – I would have to say that I share a common admiration and respect for Assange, which through your writing have made such views clearly justified

        But, as objective, logical, concise and balanced as they are, it’s a minority view here; and from experience, it’s not likely to get much, if any, traction, being as it is, a matter of dogma.

        Regarding another controversy – among those who rightfully do not take anything on face value – there is the question of the veracity of the entire Edward Snowden affair, as to who he really is and the true nature of his “exposé”. Originally, I was swayed and fully convinced that the Snowden affair was none other than a snowjob, a view that continues being squarely reinforced and propounded. However, I can no longer say that can accept such a view as presented here directly on it’s face, either, as a level of my own skepticism regarding its truth, or anyone’s truth, absolute, has since developed in the intervening years. Even with recent developments touted as foolproof, corroborating evidence of deceit, e.g., additional reams of documentation getting locked away as long foretold, etc., the “Gospel of Snowjob” is still not by any means sacrosanct. It remains an opinion. Though an interesting complex opinion, providing nutrition for thought, it is and remains an opinion, nonetheless.

        For the other half of the Snowden drama, we have Glenn Greenwald. While I agree that there has been a certain level of manipulation, money making and greed involved with the handling of Snowden’s cache of documents, I don’t think it rises to the level of evil and deceit on Greenwald’s part as has been painted here. Many factors, along with heavy power players, abound, besides reporter Greenwald, It’s an understatement to say it’s not all Greenwald’s show. He doesn’t deserve to get lambasted and smeared on such moral high ground as to include his living where he’s living, behind a gate, that that’s taboo? Maybe he simply understands the reality of life in his neck of the woods. Ordinary people, in ordinary houses, in parts of Central America, at least, live behind barbed wire. And why mention his income? Did he release his tax statements? I guess, then, he should have done it just for the glory?

        By and large, Greenwald’s a decent human being, and is the first to rip at injustices, lending more often than not, a thoughtful, important voice against the powers that be. Yeah, he’s not perfect – who is? – but he’s not in cahoots, either.

        • Thumbs up to all your reflections candlelight.

        • I appreciate your praise, and sympathy.

          To your suggestion about Corbett and his subculture, exhibiting an inflexible habit concerning the unfashionability of JA & WL… I cannot fathom why a community of researchers and people who demand to “review the footnotes” and maintain the links (along with their audiences) could possibly come under sway of such ill-considered dogma. What could be more coherent with that but the automatic publication of all information which ought to be transparently displayed anyway? From what incentive or impulse do you imagine this habit of opinion derives? As a survival strategy it makes sense, but this crowd seems to have more heart than that. It seems myopic.

          I concur, and don’t put any stock in the “Gospel of Snowjob,” as you put it. The dude is and was authentic. There can be no strategy whereby the security complex intentionally maneuvered to expose itself in that manner, to reveal what the Patriot Act had created. With what possible goal? True heroic events can happen. Of course what’s the best way to render heroism invisible, but for the state to contain it, take credit for it, and be like, “Nope, he was our psyop from the very beginning?” We buy into that rhetoric at our own peril. Because for most, even mildly thoughtful people, the economic and political paradigm really did change in the summer of 2013, and America’s image was very damaged.

          Regarding Greenwald, yeah, he appears to have really come into possession of kryptonite and did a lion’s job of trying to understand it and helping it get out to the mass audience as best he could, somehow exposed, without losing his life. Remember Michael Hastings? He died in a thinly veiled assassination by remote hacked BMW in those same weeks that Greenwald visited HongKong and – for the NSA – it seemed the jig was up. He was killed before Snowden left Hong Kong. That’s a pretty clear message. And as the establishment mobilized around the three recipients, they came under real pressure. Don’t forget that TSA did happen to terrorize Greenwald’s boyfriend as a potential courier – another acute message close to home. All 3 recipients were professionals, so in their paradigm, not only must one make a living, but staying alive is nice too.

          A revisit to that week might help take you back.

          (Perhaps you can comment, I don’t understand how there could have been no comments beneath this posting. Was there a system overhaul that lost all the comments?)

          For that matter, also go find Hastings on the Tavis Smiley Show, if you can find it, and you can clearly see how he was both a target and a role model for other journalists. That was the tenor of the day.

          • As to Greenwald’s living conditions and salary, you’re right. He’s a nice jewish boy and a gay intellectual lawyer from NYC – Where does one possibly imagine his social cohort lives when they live in Brazil? He would probably live in a damned gated beach-side community in Florida, too – or at least a door man building – if he were in exile in Florida, god forbid. That doesn’t make him an out of touch, stately prince, it just makes him a little bougie. That’s how moderately wealthy & highly educated people like him live in Brazil, unless they’re real bohemians or hipsters. He has good reason to know his security guards, too, I’d imagine.

            By remaining editor-at-large Greenwald has escaped the threats of the two faces of the Intercept, that is, the intelligence op that underlies First Look, maintained enthusiastically on the ground (it would seem) by Micah Lee who continues to lead the progressive’s libelous campaign against JA and destroy WL, and by Matthew Cole who helped render the fabricated martyr, Reality Winner. The Magazine is crooked, but Greenwald provides no such evidence.

            (Anyway, when did Americans stop reading fiction so as to fail to recognize such plain contrivances as Reality Winner’s name? And persecution for a single pilfered piece of paper? Please.)

            Well none of the Kryptonite holders wished to follow Hastings’, Mannings’ or Assanges,’ fate, nor even Snowden’s, and I don’t think they can be judged for that. It’s only in the case of Poitras, wherein she willfully bent her documentary to suit statist propaganda intentions, that any of them should be judged harshly. It was a pro-WL doc at Cannes and some months later when it was released, the message of the film had been reversed and it was unleashed with guns blazing.

            On the general point about Snowden, people should decide what he is only upon listening to his talks and interviews. Judge him on the content of his words and actions. Same with Assange. Those guys hang on to life and live by the virtue of their words. They shouldn’t be taken lightly or dismissed casually. There seems very little in the spirit of their intent that differs substantially from anything on the Corbett Report. The simple golden rule should apply – take them at face value, innocent until proven guilty, etc.

            Thanks for chiming in.

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